Skip to main content

Florida Friday; the Great 2012 Florida Trip Part 1 the Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Throughout my entire life I've had interactions with the state of Florida.  I had family around the Pensacola and Tampa areas, our family took trips down to the state from the Mid-West to theme parks in the 1980s/90s, and of course there was racing as well.  Back in late 2012 the economy was still hurting in Arizona and I was getting ready to make the move to Florida.  Before I moved to Florida, I took a long trip to the southern half of the state to get a lay of the land which is what this blog is about.  I have a ton of stuff sitting in albums from 2012 to 2016 which I figure would make for a decent Friday topic, or "Florida Friday."

Upon arriving in Florida I wanted to go out and see some of the sites that I wanted to always check out on the road.  The first was the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay which carries US 19/I-275.


The current Skyway Bridge is a 4.14 mile cable stayed design which opened in 1987.  The new Skyway Bridge is 430 feet tall in the center span with a 180 foot clearance for ships to pass through.





The original Skyway Bridge opened in 1954 which extended US 19 across Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg to US 41 in Memphis.   The original Skyway Bridge was a two-lane cantilever design which was expanded upon when a second span opened directly west of it in 1971 to upgrade it Interstate standards.  By 1973 I-275 was multiplexed over the original Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay.  In 1980 a freighter hit the 1971 bridge which was serving southbound US 19/I-275 traffic which resulted in 35 people being killed when the structure fell into the waters of Tampa Bay.  By 1993 six years after the new Skyway Bridge was completed the 1954 and 1971 spans were partially demolished.  Parts of the 1954 and 1971 spans of the old Skyway Bridge are now part of the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Piers on both ends of Tampa Bay.

I stopped at the southern piers to check out the 1954 and 1971 bridge structures which is where I took my photos of the new span from.







Despite the Skyway Bridge being a toll road there is plenty of reassurance shields about reminding you that you are on US 19/I-275.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Sunshine Bridge (Donaldsonville, LA)

Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in southern Louisiana, the Sunshine Bridge spans the lower Mississippi River near the city of Donaldsonville as part of the longer Louisiana Highway 70 corridor, which connects Interstate 10 and Airline Highway (US 61) with US 90 in Morgan City. In the years following World War II, the only bridges across the lower Mississippi River in Louisiana were located in the area of the state’s two largest cities – Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Postwar agricultural and industrial development along the river in this region led to the planning of a series of infrastructure projects in southern Louisiana that were aimed at spurring this development and modernization of the Delta region. One of these projects was known as the Acadian Thruway and was developed in the 1950s as a toll road intended to connect greater New Orleans with Lafayette and points west while providing a high-speed bypass of the Baton Rouge metro area. The Thruway, which

Old River Lock & Control Structure (Lettsworth, LA)

  The Old River Control Structure (ORCS) and its connecting satellite facilities combine to form one of the most impressive flood control complexes in North America. Located along the west bank of the Mississippi River near the confluence with the Red River and Atchafalaya River nearby, this structure system was fundamentally made possible by the Flood Control Act of 1928 that was passed by the United States Congress in the aftermath of the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 however a second, less obvious motivation influenced the construction here. The Mississippi River’s channel has gradually elongated and meandered in the area over the centuries, creating new oxbows and sandbars that made navigation of the river challenging and time-consuming through the steamboat era of the 1800s. This treacherous area of the river known as “Turnbull’s Bend” was where the mouth of the Red River was located that the upriver end of the bend and the Atchafalaya River, then effectively an outflow

Natchez-Vidalia Bridge (Natchez, MS)

  Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and Vicksburg near the city of Natchez, the Natchez-Vidalia Bridge crosses the lower Mississippi River between southwest Mississippi and northeastern Louisiana at the city of Vidalia. This river crossing is a dual span, which creates an interesting visual effect that is atypical on the Mississippi River in general. Construction on the original bridge took place in the late 1930s in conjunction with a much larger parallel effort by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to strengthen the area’s flood protection and levee system along the Mississippi River. One of the more ambitious aspects of this plan was to relocate the city of Vidalia to a location of higher ground about one mile downriver from the original settlement. The redirection of the river through the Natchez Gorge (which necessitated the relocation of the town) and the reconstruction of the river’s levee system in the area were undertaken in the aftermath of the Great Flood of 1927, wh